Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Andrew Sullivan, the Catholic Church, and me

I mention Andrew Sullivan a lot on this blog. And I do so because it was Andrew who nursed me back to some sense of coherency in those early months after learning my son was gay. Now I do not actually know Andrew personally, although I sure feel like I do. But his was the first “blog” I’d ever read (heck I didn’t even know what a blog was at that time).

I stumbled upon his blog one day after a good old fashion sob-fest that left me with just enough energy to crawl to my computer and google “Catholic” and “homosexuality” in a feeble attempt to start tackling my own stumbling blocks to acceptance of my new reality. And all drama aside - he was my saving grace in those early days and I shall be forever grateful to him, hence my almost clinical attachment to Andrew.

Today Andrew had a post about an interview he did on CSPAN with Brian Lamb. In the interview Brian asks Andrew:

I don’t know quite how to ask this without sounding abrupt, but how can you then stay in the Catholic church and stay a conservative when both places are not terribly friendly?

And this was a question that I have to admit I’ve wondered many times myself. Especially in light of the fact that I could not reconcile my Catholic faith or my party affiliation with the Republican party once I knew that both were so hostile to gays and lesbians. As always Andrew has an eloquent answer here.

And of course I felt compelled to respond with an email to Andrew after reading his answer to the interview question and he published my comments:

"When I first found out one of my sons was gay I went immediately to the computer and googled "Catholic" and "homosexuality". It was the first and probably most painful of the paralyzing issues that I felt I needed to tackle in order to arrive at the peaceful acceptance I knew would eventually come. Sadly, I was already reeling from intense anger over the Church's enormous betrayal of its most vulnerable. The abuse scandal and the horrendous sin of covering it up for decades was for me so painful, so unforgivable, and so destructive that I was unsure I could remain a Catholic even before learning that I was the mother of an "objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil" son who by loving someone would be committing the unforgivable sin of "deviant love".

I am so glad that you chose to excerpt your answer to CSPAN's Brian Lamb's question about remaining in the Catholic Church in spite of its open hostility to Gays and Lesbians. Your dogged commitment to remaining a practicing Catholic at first made me feel so ashamed of my own painful decision to leave the Church. I spent months agonizing and soul searching before deciding that my choice to leave the Church was the right thing for me to do. In spite of the fact that you and I arrived at different decisions, reading your columns and posts helped me to see another side to the story that I was not able to see because of my blinding rage and sorrow. Unfortunately, I just cannot worship in a Church that has deemed one of my children evil, especially when it is coming from a Church that has not only failed to take true responsibility for its own evil. As far as I am concerned, the moral high ground upon which they think they can proclaim gays evil, crumbled decades ago."


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